If a good play generates conversation and controversy, then Henrik Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House” with a modern adaptation and direction by Gordon Edelstein, currently at New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre until Sunday, May 23, is worthy of note.

This world premiere is a new take on Ibsen’s masterpiece work that focuses on a woman’s role in life and in marriage and engendered a great deal of outrage when first produced in Copenhagen in 1879, the year it was penned.

The drama centers on Nora (Ana Reeder) and an act that occurred years earlier when she impulsively forged her father’s signature on a promissory note, borrowing the money to fund a rest cure for her husband Torvald (Adam Trese) to save his life.  Unfortunately she borrowed the dollars from an unsavory money lender Nils (Mark Nelson) who had reversals of fortune himself, making him vulnerable and vengeful.

Now, on Christmas Eve, Torvald is at the top of his career, just made division head at the bank, a great distance from the gravely ill man who needed rescuing by his faithful, well-meaning wife Nora.  Nils has chosen this moment to insinuate himself into their marriage, demanding his pound of flesh, threatening the emotional foundation of their decade long relationship.

Also in the psychological mix master are Nora’s longtime friend Christine (Linda Powell) and Torvald’s sick and dying close companion Peter (Tim Hopper) who both try to help resolve the couple’s difficulties, being privy to some degree of their troubles.

Nora and Torvald’s trio of children, played by Adeline, Charlotte and Henry Cullom, celebrate the holiday, oblivious to their parent’s tensions and turmoil, while their mother’s personality ping-pongs between elation and despair as Nils tightens his hold on her sanity and happiness.

For tickets ($35-65), call Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, New Haven at 203-787-4282 or online at www.longwharf.org.  Performances are

Tuesday at 7 p.m., Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., Thursday to Saturday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. on Wednesday May 12 and 19.

Watch how quickly the seemingly loving husband turns on the wife he calls his “little squirrel,” “little bluebird” and “little minx” when Nora commits a deed he feels is an act of betrayal, even though she did it to save his life.


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